Giving birth is a natural process that should ideally happen without any intervention, which is why some women opt to give birth in their houses with only a midwife present. In addition, a few women entirely forego help and wait to welcome their little bundle of joy in the presence of only family members. However, most doctors do not recommend this, so they ask such women to have emergency numbers for the nearest hospital in case something goes wrong.
Labor and delivery are also unpredictable and there are those rare occasions when complications arise in any of these instances. This is the major reason why both events should take place in a well-equipped hospital so that doctors can assist the woman in case of an incident. To minimize the chances of complications, women should start attending prenatal clinics at a health center of their choice for the medical personnel to monitor their pregnancy.
There are also those conditions that develop during a pregnancy that can make labor and delivery difficult. If identified early, medical staff can treat it so that the mother can have a smooth delivery. However, there those few cases where medical intervention is not possible so what doctors do in this case is to anticipate the risks of delivering the baby and avert further complications.
Here are some of the hazardous situations that can occur during delivery that doctors hope they don’t get to encounter.
20 Rapid Labor
Most expectant women spend considerable amounts of time in each stage of labor, typically between six to 18 hours. However, a small group of exceptional women who will experience rapid labor; their labor usually lasts between three to five hours, as claimed by Medical News Today.
Rapid labor is a hazardous delivery situation that increases the mother's chances of tearing, getting lacerations, hemorrhaging, having intense contractions, and going into postpartum trauma. It also puts the baby at risk of amniotic aspiration and infection. Nevertheless, it is important for doctors to keep the situation on the DL and help the mother deliver the baby with minimal complications.
Hemorrhaging typically occurs when a mom loses about 500ml or more of plasma during or after delivery of a baby. According to Healthline, an estimated 18% of births experience hemorrhaging. It is common for moms to leak the "red stuff" during pregnancy.
However, excess leaking can be hazardous and can sometimes lead to: an increased heart rate, a severe drop in BP, trauma, and even loss of life. If it does not stop, doctors sometimes have to perform a hysterectomy where they remove the womb. Doctors will usually keep such information on the DL until mom is out of risk.
18 Abnormal Fetal Presentation
Ideally, babies should be born naturally in the head-down position while facing their mother’s back. As opposed to seeing the baby’s head first during natural delivery, abnormal presentation refers to where any other part of the baby appears first from the birth canal, like the feet. Doctors refer to this type of occurrence as a "breech presentation."
Abnormal presentations can cause hazardous delivery situations and most doctors prefer keeping it on the down low until they get the baby out. There are different kinds of breech presentations; there is frank breech where a baby’s bottom appears first, complete breech where the bottoms or feet appear first and incomplete breech where the feet appear first, as stated by WebMD.
17 Umbilical Cord Compression
Many hazardous delivery situations can occur during delivery. One example of these situations is umbilical cord compression. This, although very rare, occurs when the umbilical cord stretches out and compresses during labor obstructing the flow of fluids, oxygen, and nutrients to the baby.
According to Birth Injury Guide, umbilical cord compression causes a sudden drop in the baby’s heart rate, which the fetal monitor machine can pick up, therefore alerting the doctors. If doctors do not attend to this complication, it can cause fetal brain complications, poor physical development, and in severe cases, loss of life. Fortunately, it is easy to detect and treat. In most cases, an emergency C-section is the best way out.
16 Umbilical Cord Prolapse (Cord Slipping Ahead)
Umbilical cord prolapse (UCP) occurs when the baby’s umbilical cord slips ahead, usually right before birth. When this occurs, doctors normally keep it on the DL to avoid alarming the already stressed out mom. UCP is a hazardous delivery situation that immediately complicates the delivery process.
When it occurs, the umbilical cord can be felt in the birth canal and sometimes can even be seen protruding out of the birth canal. According to Cleveland Clinic, the cord is usually the baby’s lifeline between mother and child, so when UCP occurs, the baby can put stress on the cord resulting in less oxygen supply which may even result in a stillbirth. Moms in this case usually undergo an emergency C-section.
15 Nuchal Cord (Cord Wrapping Around Baby's Neck)
Nuchal cord occurs when the umbilical cord wraps around the baby’s neck during labor or birth. It creates a hazardous delivery situation and when doctors notice it, they will prefer keeping it on the DL until they have a solution. The umbilical cord is usually what supplies life to the baby and doctors have to be careful when it is concerned.
According to Healthline, one-in-three babies are born with a nuchal cord and the baby’s movements usually cause the condition during labor. It is more common in moms having multiples or those who have excess amniotic fluid. Some moms may deliver naturally and then the cord is unwrapped after delivery. Sometimes, though, mom has to go for surgery. Multiple wraps cause even greater risks.
14 Sepsis Infections (Mom Getting An Infection)
When a woman is pregnant, her immune system is usually low and fighting infections is usually much harder. If an expectant mother gets an infection during pregnancy or delivery, doctors can have a hazardous delivery situation on their hands. Doctors have to determine if the infection is transmittable to the baby and if so, administer antibiotics.
Sepsis is an infection that occurs to moms before or during delivery. This infection can result from an infection related to pregnancy or from any part of a mother’s body, such as the urinary tract, as claimed by Sepsis. Women with influenza can also contract sepsis. Sepsis can pose great risks and mom should seek treatment immediately.
13 Amniotic Fluid Embolism (Amniotic Fluid Leaking)
An Amniotic Fluid Embolism (AFE) is a condition where the amniotic fluid or any other fluids present during birth, leak into the mother’s veins and trigger a serious reaction. A likely cause is the breakdown of the placental barrier usually from trauma.
AFE is a hazardous delivery situation that doctors keep on the DL until they stabilize the mother and baby. According to The Mayo Clinic, AFE is very rare, it occurs once in a hundred births and doctors do not see it as frequent. Doctors have to take moms who get it to the intensive care unit for treatment and close monitoring.
12 Shoulder Dystocia (Shoulder Lodging During Birth)
Shoulder dystocia occurs during natural delivery when the baby’s shoulders lodge against the mother’s pubic bone. When this happens, the baby gets stuck in the birthing canal. This is a hazardous delivery situation and when it occurs doctors may be hesitant to inform mom.
As Birth Injury Guide points out, shoulder dystocia occurs when a baby is proportionally bigger to its birthing canal or when the baby is born face first. In this case, moms are usually at risk of lacerations, hemorrhaging, or uterine ruptures. Doctors will attempt medical maneuvers in order to safely and successfully get the baby out without causing any harm.
11 Premature Rupture Of Membranes
Premature Rupture Of Membranes (PROM) occurs when a mother breaks her amniotic sac before the onset of labor. Term PROM occurs when mom is at term and preterm PROM occur anywhere before 37 weeks. The breakage is usually painless. According to emedicine.medscape, the mother normally gets a flow of fluids from her birth canal similar to what they experience when they break their water.
PROM causes a hazardous delivery situation, which doctors prefer keeping on the DL. When it occurs, the mother and the baby are usually at risk of catching infections and doctors may recommend induction of labor if mom is at term or near term. Other forms of treatments depend on how far along mom is.
10 Placenta Previa, Accreta, And Percreta (Issues With The Placenta)
The placenta, which develops during pregnancy, is an organ that supplies the baby with nutrients and oxygen. A number of hazardous delivery situations involving the placenta can occur, like placenta previa, placenta accreta, and placenta percreta.
According to American Pregnancy, placenta previa occurs when the placenta partially or totally covers the cervix; placenta accreta occurs when the placenta attaches too deep into the uterine wall; and placenta percreta occurs when the placenta penetrates the uterine wall and attaches to another organ, for example, the bladder. In all these cases, the mother has to undergo a C-section and sometimes a hysterectomy may be necessary.
9 Preterm Labor
A full-term pregnancy normally lasts 40 weeks. Preterm labor occurs when a mother starts labor before 37 weeks. This forces the baby to be born preterm putting him or her at risk. Babies born preterm usually have many health complications because some of their organs have not yet fully developed.
According to nichd.nih, a baby’s lungs and brain usually finish their development during week 39. Preterm labor is a hazardous delivery situation which doctors prefer keeping on the DL until they establish that both mom and baby are fine. Doctors have to monitor most preterm babies in the neonatal intensive care unit.
8 Prolonged Labor
Eight percent of expectant women and especially first-time mothers experience prolonged labor. Prolonged labor is simply labor that does not progress or stops completely. It typically occurs when a first-time mom labors for more than 20 hours or when a mom who has already given birth before labors for more than 14 hours. This causes a hazardous delivery situation.
Prolonged labor puts the mother and the baby at the risk of several complications. When a mother breaks her water and experiences prolonged labor, the baby is usually prone to infections as stated by WebMD. In most cases, mom usually undergoes a C-section.
7 Preeclampsia And Eclampsia (Mom Has High BP)
A pregnant woman has preeclampsia if she has high BP and has never had it before her pregnancy. Other symptoms of preeclampsia include edema and high levels of protein in the urine. If preeclampsia is not treated, it can be fatal. If a mother with preeclampsia is already in labor, the doctors' goal is usually to deliver the baby as soon as possible.
According to WebMD, when a woman with preeclampsia gets seizures or convulsions she has gotten to a stage called eclampsia. The only way to treat eclampsia is to prevent further seizures and deliver the baby immediately. This can be a tough moment for moms-to-be so doctors usually prefer to keep it on the DL until the delivery is done.
6 Multiple Births
When a woman is carrying more than one baby, her delivery situation automatically becomes hazardous because the chances for complications are higher. During her labor, a lot can go wrong and therefore doctors prefer keeping the risks on the DL until the mother delivers her babies.
Depending on the number of multiples, the babies are usually born several weeks earlier. Mom is also more likely to develop complications like anemia, gestational diabetes, hyperemesis gravidarum, and preeclampsia. The best way to deliver multiple births is through C-section; however, natural delivery of some twins, depending on their presentation, is good, according to American Pregnancy.
5 Fetal Distress
Fetal distress is an uncommon complication of labor and typically occurs when the fetus is not getting enough oxygen during labor. Doctors can detect fetal distress through the fetal monitor machine. It alarms doctors when the fetus' heart rate is not assuring.
This is why it is usually important for doctors to monitor the fetus during labor. A doctor will prefer keeping this information on the DL to avoid alarming the mother. As American Pregnancy points out, changing the mother's position, giving her more oxygen supply and inserting fluids to relieve umbilical cord compression can reduce fetal distress. However, there are cases where emergency C-section will be necessary.
4 Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes only occurs during pregnancy. An increase in hormones during pregnancy can lead to a buildup of glucose in the mother’s system. If the pancreas does not create enough insulin to handle the glucose, the mother will develop gestational diabetes.
Moms can control gestational diabetes by eating healthy meals and exercising. If it is not controlled, it can cause a hazardous delivery situation, as claimed by Mayo Clinic. The baby can grow so large due to high sugar levels, which can further cause problems during delivery even in C-section births. Moms are also at risk of developing type two diabetes in the near future.
3 Perinatal Asphyxia (Baby's Breathing Issues)
Perinatal Asphyxia is usually confused with fetal distress. It occurs when a baby cannot breathe normally just before, during, and after birth. Once a baby is born, he or she can still have problems breathing despite receiving oxygen. Doctors usually notice the condition when monitoring the baby and may prefer keeping it on the DL.
However, they have to inform the mother-to-be because she probably has to deliver via emergency C-section. According to Birth Injury Guide, a baby with perinatal asphyxia is usually born quiet and doctors have to attend to him or her so that she can take her first breath. Meconium aspiration and prolapsed umbilical cord are some of the causes of perinatal asphyxia.
Dehydration during delivery can lead to a hazardous situation. After hours and hours of labor, moms can develop dehydration and because of the state they are in, they can forget to keep their water levels up. Dehydration puts the mother at risk of developing ketosis.
According to kidspot, ketosis occurs when the body does not have enough carbohydrates, and therefore, no energy. The condition can slow down contractions and leave mom with no energy to handle labor. Ketosis is usually common in women who experience prolonged labor. Doctors prefer keeping such information on the DL to avoid stressing out the laboring mom and instead opt to hydrate the mother’s body through an IV.
1 Obstructed Labor
Obstructed labor, also referred to as labor dystocia happens when the mother contracts normally but the baby is unable to exit the pelvis. A physical blockage is usually the cause of this. When it occurs, the mother can develop an infection, uterine rupture, hemorrhaging, and obstetrical fistula. As for the baby, he or she can lack oxygen and get an infection.
Obstructed labor usually occurs because of having a small pelvis or problems with the birthing canal as stated by Who. Malnutrition and deficiency of vitamin D can cause a mom to have a small pelvis. In this case, the baby can either be born with the assistant of delivery instruments or via C-section with a possibility of performing a procedure to widen the pelvis.
Sources: healthline.com, webmd.com, birthinjuryguide.org, clevelandclinic.org, sepsis.org, who.int mayoclinic.org, medicalnewstoday.com, emedicine.medscape.com, americanpregnancy.org, nichd.nih.gov, kidspot.com.au